Marc Matheos, Jeff Richardson, and Rob Robertson

by Michael Cooper


You have to hand it to Marc Matheos, Jeff Richardson, and Rob Robertson: they have a big idea. That idea is the Free Tulsa! music festival.

In the absence of the usual Diversifest music festival that has taken place for the last several years, the three men have springboarded an idea that catapults downtown music into the limelight while giving local businesses an arena to thrive.

It hasn’t been an easy journey, though. The festival was initially supposed to be a Saturday night party at Matheos’ booming bar, The Crystal Pistol; but it was decided after Diversifest canceled that the three men got together to decide to make their Free Tulsa! concept a more extravagant affair. It’s come at a cost, though. The festival was intended to be free, but now the tickets are $15 for the two-day event. To make it worth the money to their potential festival-goers though, management has booked more than 120 artists to the roster featured on nine stages all the way down Main Street.

While Matheos handles the business side of the festival (investing more than a little heart and soul), Richardson (of local music label Hard Workd Records) and Robertson (of band Recorder and local disc jockey fame) both craft the vision of what the Brady Arts District music festival should look and sound like. And while Robertson, Richardson, and Matheos are the brains, the looks, and the muscle of a gang, the men do what only True Tulsans can: packing downtown with great local music and culture.

True Tulsa is a weekly project that highlights the people and places that make our city great.